2. Hard to Swallow

What drove me to seek more than the usual attention I don’t typically demand? A strange little lump in my throat that made swallowing annoying and sometimes difficult. It seemed like a simple case of post-nasal drip after months of the horrid respiratory trouble and a serious flu with endless coughing. The odd swallowing issue lasted too long after my flu left for my comfort, so I sought an Ear-Nose-Throat specialist–one of the best reputed.

Nothing. There’s nothing there. Nothing is wrong with you. For those who have exhibited no tell-tale signs of sickness, but know something is wrong, receiving this pat answer to an earnest seeking can be outrageously maddening. It was for me and has been during the years of various physicians telling me I “looked” fine, slim, becoming, and very healthy even when my neuro-hormonal symptoms and some tests suggested otherwise. But that was and is the quandry–reconciling whole body, holistic wellness and compartmentalized, often-organ-specific perspectives on regaining health. It is in the grey area that isolation, hopelessness, rage, as well as soul-saving resolution happens…over time, of course. Even after several visits and scopes sent down my breathing passages revealed nothing, I refused to accept that I was behaving as if I had Globus Hystericus–the name itself obviously suggesting it was “all in my head.” Irritation… yes, absolutely. While various factors that may have caused this might show in the years to come, in this moment, I resisted this mild-mannered dismissal and I persisted until I was sent for an ultrasound, just in case.

Wish my intuition was wrong–the imaging tests showed suspicious spots on my thyroid. And then a fine-needle aspiration (biopsy) confirmed papillary carcinoma. And getting the results was not easy either as the doctor who initially told me the results since my main ENT doctor was unavailable didn’t know how to really tell me. It was awkward and I had to pull it out of him since more than a week had already gone by and I no longer wanted to wait to get the confirmation that I already felt in my gut. Just say it and tell me I insisted. So he did. Cancer. He said the only solution was removing it…and actually, that meant removing the thyroid. Unacceptable to me.

That weekend (after the biopsy results) I was scheduled to participate in a 3-day martial arts survival training program…and it was brutal. I wondered if every strike with hand or knife from throws and falls or practicing self-defense moves would make me worse or break free the cancer from its current location. I remember resisting hard not to spontaneously cry in the middle of the massive mental and physical learning curves… my pain was emotional, but the physical challenges were tough, too. I’m a fighter I kept telling myself… I did make it through the 3 days and weathering the onslaught helped me curry a deeper, inward warring spirit which I innately knew I would need for all that was ahead.

When I finally let the news settle and set an in-person meeting with the ENT doctor I initially sought for an annoying lump, I didn’t tell others. I was not in a place to tell my husband either as he was very busy and traveling so much, I just didn’t find and want to add another stressor to his already busy life. Yes, I know, this is also not a healthy situation. Nonetheless, it just shows how difficult to swallow a medical diagnosis like cancer can be and how much resistance can come in the place acceptance must be to allow for empowered decision-making.

As I mentioned, I promised myself I would fight cancer naturally and avoid conventional go-to solutions of surgery and radiation. That’s precisely what I told the doctor when my husband and I went to discuss my options. He said he would only have to take 1/2 my thyroid and would monitor the other half and the remaining parathyroids hoping they would not go into shock and also be felled to death. From an outsider’s perspective, it was reasonable– a fair-enough compromise, with very little risk, and a speedy way to get rid of the “problem.” In violent opposition, my psyche refused and my body tensed, square against this sending a feverish revolt through my body up to my head. I could not take this simply proffered option. I said no and politely asked him to take me on as an “experiment” to watch and see as I wanted to explore other options.

Such explorations will be shared later, but for now, the main matter is the diagnosis and the response to it. I felt disappointed that I did not react as positively and resolutely as I promised myself I would should I become part of the 1 in 2 or 1 in 3 to be diagnosed with cancer in America. And I see now that I was not being fair to myself and beating myself up for what I perceived as lack of bravery and failure in adequately taking care of myself. It was understandable in that I was already tired from my uphill battle to recover from an electrical brain injury which became the chronic inflammatory assault on my entire body that brought confusion within my cells including cancer. I was trying not to be angry at the woman (a medical practitioner and medical machine manufacturer) who was responsible for my electrical injury… I was trying not to be sad at feeling so alone as most medical professionals had dismissed my need for help saying I “looked fine” for years… I was heartbroken and didn’t want to face how upsetting it was that my husband was too busy to be an actively involved part of all this… I was hard-pressed from every side from external and internal pressure. I just did not want to feel anything… at all. It was too much and too hard for too long and this last drop of an added trial nearly pushed me over the edge. To simply function, I refused to process fully or let myself feel anything at all… Not for many months, actually.

I squelched every rumbling of rage and capped sobs into silence and unfortunately, I let my soul fester with all these poisons for a while before I even asked God for His direction and hope and listened. All I could think of was pounding everything into submission like mixed martial artists in a blind rage do to their opponents. Kill-kill-kill. Destroy, destroy, destroy. Not much finesse in denial, hurt, and fear…and that is where I remained for a while. I had to grow quite a lot to face my brokenness and broken heart so I could see a way forward unto life. All I knew was I was determined to win and do it my way and that no one was taking my body apart. Radiative dissolution or surgical removal of this powerhouse hormone modulator felt tantamount to letting the Devil cut my throat and drain my life. Yes, it was that insanely dramatic for me. All I could do, think, or say was that I would not be beat….not by anything. Funny how such denial of a full perspective could masquerade as determination. At least I still had that… and that is where I started.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. -2 Corinthians 4:8-9

NOT-A-CCINO WHITE CHOCOLATE FUDGIES – Vegan, Keto

Looks like cookies and cream and kinda tastes like it, too, but the recently rediscovered secret ingredient actually has overtures of chocolate and coffee without the caffeine!!! So, this is an offering to those who miss a touch a sweet, want the resistant softness of fudge, yet want to feel like a grown up kid having coffee tinged oreo-like treats. This is a unique one for sure!

  • INGREDIENTS: (recipe still being tweaked by jane, but still good!)
  • 2/3 cup raw cacao butter
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup coconut manna
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract (no alcohol)
  • 2 Tablespoons Ramon seed powder (stir in last.)
  • 2 Tablespoons MCT powder
  • 15 drops of monkfruit liquid sweetener
  • 3 Tablespoons of granulated monkfruit
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

WHAT TO DO:

  1. In a double boiler, gently melt cacao butter and coconut manna.
  2. Add coconut milk and oil… and stir until fully incorporated.
  3. Take off heat.
  4. Add monkfruit drops and granules, MCT, vanilla extract, salt, cinnamon.
  5. Prepare your brownie pan (10×10 for thin fudge and 8×8 for thicker) by lining it was parchment paper.
  6. Add in Ramon seeds and stir until just combined.
  7. Pour into pan and top with raw coconut flakes/
  8. Chill overnight.
  9. Slice up and serve. Leave in refrigerator for longer keeping, but can leave out a room temperature without worries of melting 🙂
Stacking up those ketones with the MCT infusion here!

ESSENTIAL SEED TOAST…strangely addictive! – Vegan, Keto

Another baked item I made the day before I plunged into Vegan-Keto eating as a just in case measure. I’m so glad I did… this was a go-to snack and meal-maker more often than I expected! It is also so delicious and very filling somehow all on its own–whether or not you toast it. I sliced, then froze my bread loaves so they would be easy to pull out and simply allow to defrost or lightly toast. Great either way! Don’t laugh, but you’ll see what I mean when I say this feels like an old-school style bread from generations past.

  • INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds (prefer sprouted)
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (prefer sprouted)
  • 1/4 cup cup psyllium husks
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup pea protein powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup tahini warmed to room temperature
  • 3 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoon ground flax
  • 1 slightly overflowing cup warm filtered water

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Line your bread loaf pan with parchment and preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In large bowl, mix together, seeds, psyllium, salt, nutritional yeast, flax, and pea protein.
  3. In glass measuring cup, combine warm water tahini, and olive oil.
  4. Pour wet mixture into large seed bowl. Stir well so all combined with no powdery areas.
  5. Once well mixed, portion the thick dough into bread pan and use spatula to even out. You may need to tap the entire bread loaf pan on your countertop to even everything out well.
  6. Bake for 80 minutes or until you see a nice golden browning of the top. Should be super crusty 🙂
  7. Remove from oven and cool.
  8. Slice, save a few in the fridge and store the rest in the freezer.

Peanutty Cloud Cookies Vegan, Keto, GF

Wanted a quick, easy, crowd pleaser… peanuts are a fav, but you can sub with any other nut butter if your loved one needs to avoid peanuts as they are a high-allergen food. If you can enjoy peanut butter, then this is a soft, chewy, cheer-you-up cookie…

  • INGREDIENTS: (not finalized yet by Jane… still testing)
  • 1/4 (no more than 1/3) cup smooth organic only roasted peanut butter
  • 6 Tablespoons non-dairy mylk of choice (use for flax eggs)
  • 2 flax eggs (using mylk) –make sure not too watery.
  • 1/4 cup ground golden flax seeds
  • 4 Tablespoons granulated monkfruit sweetener; 5 Tablespoons if you want a sweetness that’s evident.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon MCT powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • optional: red salt or large salt flakes for topping along with a dash of cinnamon… or a peanut or sachi inchi seed with fine dusting of salt.
  • note—this makes 6-8 large spoon rounded drops… so best to double up on ingredients… and make more to share!
  • on aside–I found that adding a vegan protein powder scoop makes the cookie less dense and puffy somehow… let me know what it does for you!

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Prep your silicone cookie sheet with little coconut oil or line your baking pan with parchment paper. Turn on oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In large bowl, mix together all the wet ingredients: nut butter, flax eggs, mylk, sweetener, and vanilla extract.
  3. In other bowl, whisk together MCT powder, cinnamon, flax grounds, salt, baking powder… then add and incorporate into larger bowl of wet ingredients. Add 1 Tablespoon of water if too thick to mix.
  4. Once dough is well mixed, it will seem a bit wet, but should hold together well enough for you to drop the slightly gooey dough onto the baking sheet.
  5. Use two spoons or a scooper to make each a uniform size, if you care to! Try to make them a circular as possible, because these guys may spread.
  6. Sprinkle each with your choice of salt topping and cinnamon or a simple half peanut with cinnamon or a sachi ichi seed.
  7. Bake for 28-30 minutes depending on your oven–so a nice golden browning happens. The inside is moist so the outside needs to be well done 🙂
  8. Remove from oven and let cool.

Easy to eat…soft like pillows, yet a bit chewy… it makes me feel like a kid again. I would totally put two cookies to sandwich berries! Or banana slices if this were not supposed to a keto-friendly treat!!!

Fresh out of the oven!

KETO-NOLA … earthy, grainless Granola greatness- Vegan, Keto

This crunchy goodness is hard to stop eating! It’s so light, but delights the crisp hankering I get sometimes with a good balance of salty sweetness…. it is, however, NOT sweet. Take out the bit of monkfruit entirely and just rely on the freeze dried berries and let your tastebuds enjoy a nutty earthy satisfaction that will help break the addictive very-sweet-addictive granolas often found in your grocery stores…!

  • INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cup wild soil almonds
  • 1 cup halved and coarsely chopped Indonesian cashews
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 4 Tablespoons chia seeds
  • 8 Tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
  • 6 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup freeze dried berry of choice
  • 2 cups coconut flakes (1/2 in at start and 1/2 mixed in later)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne (more for option… and have turmeric on hand.)
  • 1 Tablespoon of golden monkfruit granules (omit if you want NO sweetened flavor outside of berries!) It’s still soo good with mylk!

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Line two baking trays with silicone baking lining and set your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Meld together coconut oil, vanilla, and sweetener…turn off heat.
  3. In very large mixing bowl, put together rest of ingredients EXCEPT 1/2 of your coconut flakes (do not use shreds, please.)
  4. Pour melty oil mixture into the large bowl and toss well.
  5. Divy up the granola mixtures between the two pans… you can spice up one of the pans with more cayenne or other savory powder like turmeric! Spread the mixture well in order to bake evenly.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes and sprinkle rest of your coconut shreds and stir into the mixture.
  7. Bake for another 20 minutes… watch carefully so it bakes evenly and crisps to a golden level. Burning would be sad thing … 😦
  8. Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes
  9. Add your freeze fried berries.
  10. This is enough to make a batch for yourself and have a giftable goodies for a foodie friend!

NOTE: for the most nutritious option would be to do all but bake and instead use a dehydrator for 12 -24 hours after soaking and activating each seed and nut prior to mixing. It takes more time, BUT the granola would be raw and living–offering you more than a baked option. Bake if you really prefer the crunch factor! Honestly, sometimes, I need a good crunchy snack!

I really love eating this when I need something with texture… or on top of my chia puddings… or actually, anytime. I’ve become more drawn to the the savory side of this than the sweet side, so I’ve surprised myself and avoided the berries at times! I think you’ll enjoy this over most store-bought varieties of granola laced with way too much sugary stuff.

QUIETLY NUTS CACAO KETO CUPS – Vegan

  • INGREDIENTS: (STILL BEING TESTED BY JANE.–not final recipe, but still good)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup cacao butter
  • 1/2 cup nut butter (almond, cashew, or macadamia)
  • 5 Tablespoon raw cacao powder
  • 1 Tablespoon MCT powder or MCT oil
  • 7 Tablespoons of granulated monkfruit
  • pinch sea salt for mixture
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract – no alcohol–can bind up cacao
  • large salt flakes for topping
  • coconut shreds and freeze dried berries for optional decor topping

WHAT TO DO:

  1. In double boiler, melt down cacao butter and coconut oil and when melted together and mixed, then add nut butter and stir until well combined.
  2. Take of heat and stir in sweetener, vanilla extract, MCT option, and fine granules of salt
  3. Pour into molds of choice
  4. Top with coconut shreds, freeze dried berries, or large flakes of salt…and all of them!
  5. Chill for 25 minutes… pop out of molds. Enjoy!
  6. optional–if you want to have a nut butter cup… you can pout the final mixture halfway up mold, then place dollop or nut butter in middle of mold of cup, and then cover the dollop with the final mixture until it levels to the top of the mold. This just takes a bit more time and work, but it’s worthwhile 🙂

LEMONBERRY CAKETTES – Vegan & Keto-friendly

…faded my blues for sure!!! so bright and happy in flavor!

This was one of the first things I made the day before going vegan-keto. I know myself and knew I would need a treat that’s sweet and substantial… this is a perfect treat to bake, freeze, and take anywhere you need to go! Oh…while I love blueberries, they are on the higher side of carbs for ketosis-conscious bakers… Try raspberries for an extra tart cakelette!

  • INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour (if you have tiger nut flour, substitute 1/8 cup of coconut for this for the prebiotic benefits)
  • 1/2 cup golden flax seeds ground
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sweetener/monkfruit (I used Lakanto)
  • 2 generous Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup non-daity mylk of choice (I used flax mylk)
  • 1 large lemon – zest and fresh juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup blueberries (raspberries are lower in carbs, fyi.)
  • couple pinches of Himalayan pink salt
  • one smidge pinch of cinnamon
keto coconut cream and powdered monkfruit drizzle with freeze dried raspberries to top

WHAT TO DO

  1. With coconut oil, moisten inside of 6-top silicone standard sized muffin mold (or line tins with paper liners)
  2. In a larger bowl, whisk together lemon zest and juice, your sweetener, olive oil, vanilla extract, and mylk
  3. in a separate bowl, combine flax grounds, coconut flour, tiger nut flour (if you have), baking powder, salt, and cinnamon
  4. Lastly, add blueberries and mix just enough to combine without making total blue mush of the dough! lol.
  5. Stir together both bowls of ingredients into larger bowl, and mix with a big fork quickly so it’s well combined not clumpy
  6. Fill each muffin form evenly to top
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes depending on your oven. Check with toothpick for doneness.
  8. Take out of oven and let cool in muffin mold for 20 minutes–I often cannot wait that long!!!
  9. It is easier, though to get the muffins out of the mold once they’re cooled completely… There are perks to patience!
blueberries… the higher carb berry, but so good and loaded with fiber!